Blackpool is to receive £2.9m in additional funding towards its planned £25m new conference centre.
The new boost to the investment pot comes from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund and follows on from January’s announcement of £15m towards the project from the Government’s Growth Deal.
The new money means work can begin this autumn on the conference centre, next to the Winter Gardens.
Blackpool’s new-look conference centre is due to open in 2019 and will boost overall capacity of the Grade II listed building to 7,000 delegates.
Blackpool’s £2.9m grant is the biggest to be made in the lastest round of funding for over 30 coastal projects announced by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.
Councillor Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council, welcomed the announcement as “excellent news”.
“Our bids to both the Coastal Communities Fund and the Growth Deal have been extremely strong and I am very glad that both of them have seen the positive impact that this will have on the town, creating more jobs and boosting our local economy,” Cllr. Blackburn added.
“Major conferences in Blackpool bring thousands of delegates in the town centre, who in turn spend money in our local shops, restaurants and hotels, helping our businesses thrive and allowing them to take on new workers.
“Now that funding is being allocated and the planning permission granted, I am keen that this work starts as soon as possible and we are already having conversations about attracting major conferences back to the resort ready for its opening in 2019.”
A new centre, the town’s authorities hope, will mean Blackpool will be able to attract the major political conferences once more.
There is also planning permission for a hotel, which would link directly to the Winter Gardens.
Tourism leaders in Blackpool have also said that several schemes to open branded three, four and five star hotels are on the horizon. These include a 140-room Premier Inn on the former Yates’s site in Talbot Square where work is due to begin before the end of May, and a five star 90-room hotel above the Sands venue on Central Promenade which is also due to commence before the summer.
Work has already begun on a site on South Promenade earmarked for a 130-bedroomed Hampton by Hilton. Other schemes include a four-star 142-room hotel adjacent to Blackpool North Station, and a hotel inside the former Abingdon Street Post Office.